tv Hearing on TSA Misconduct CSPAN May 1, 2016 3:31pm-6:01pm EDT
issues out of fear of retaliation. no one who reports issues at tsa are safe. this prevents the necessary orginizational agility to respond to evolving threats and are likely to exploit opportunities to strike. this negates any operational improvement or process that prevents the agent from fulfilling the mission to protect the united states transportation system. and protecting the economic well-being from threats. retaliation from tsa senior leadership will move as systematically as reported by the media and historically acknowledged by the report 10-139, that was provided to you in october of 2009. the exact same thing happened to me then and it has happened to other leaders. senior organization leaders use retaliation as a means to silence those who report violations, security concerns or operational issues, by forcing employees into early retirement
or resignations. no employee will be willing to report issues when simple fraud, waste or abuse are reason for leaders to retaliate against employees. senior leaders appeared before congress and said that they would correct the behavior. they should be held to strict timelines and yet continue to give platitude and false narratives. i would bet that you have heard this in the last six months, yet you continue to hear these. i would like the opportunity to thank my congressman and senator for the opportunity to represent tsa. this is democracy at its best. thank you. >> mr. rhoades, you are now recognized for five minutes. mr. rhoades: ranking members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you regarding the use of tsa's punitive directed reassignment, misconduct, retaliation, and its impact on security. directed reassignments have been used by tsa senior leadership as a means to silence dissent, force early retirement or resignation. senior leader misconduct and retaliation help explain why tsa underperforms.
recently i was asked to profile somalis, community members visiting my office. i will not do this, i am not tiff-tiff. additionally my supervisor accused me of quote, going native. after attending a meeting at a local mosque. those in the community in minneapolis know i would never betray their trust by profilin them. this is not reflective of the entire u.s. government. these problems are rooted in the leadership and culture, ours is a culture of misconduct, retaliation, lack of trust, coverups and the refusal to hold senior leaders accountable for poor judgement and malfeasence. habitually, my agency bypasses principles and the allocations of awards with hiring. simply put, we pick people. we elevate people in senior positions that do not have the experience, character and ability to lead and manage a complex organization.
the meteoritic rise of unqualified individuals eventually corrects itself, but only after subordinates and other employees suffer the consequences of poor leadership. there is an indifference toward investigating legitimate complaints and moreover, my counsel employs a nondisclosure agreement to keep people silent about misconduct and malfeasance and the vicious cycle continues. while some of these issues may predate the current administrator, i have been in direct communication with him and my chief counsel on all of these issues. some of them dating back to september 2015. i have yet to receive a reply. directed reassignments, i am the only employee whose reassignment has been accepted by the office of special counsel. i was given the reassignment based on the mistaken belief that i was leaking information to the media and my professional and personal relationship with the former minneapolis st. paul
security director, area director, chief operating officer and tsa acting administrator. my agency was aware that i was a recent father of two wonderful children, but could not leave the state of minnesota unless i was willing to lose custody of those children. there is a financial price we pay for tsa mismanagement. i estimate that the money saved by adding reassignments, mismanagement, and out-of-control bonuses for senior executives would likely fund enough transportation officers to staff some of the largest airports in the nation. the most egregious example occurred with an assistant administrator. he sent provocative messages to a female under his perview. when questioned by an agent, he lied three times. the recommended penalty for a single lack of candor associated
with an official investigation is removal from service. a 24 page office of responsibility report recommended that this assistant administrator be removed from service. instead, either the deputy or acting tsa administrator ignored the advice and the subject of this investigation is still employed at tsa. why is it acceptable for tsa senior executives to lie, when tso's are removed for the same infraction? in conclusion, the american public and congress should care about what happens in tsa, because senior leaders are mismanaging the agencies and our effectiveness is compromised. our corporate culture is analogous to the movie animal house. while the relationship between our headquarters and the field is best replicated in the series, game of thrones. i cannot imagine any company being successful when it treats employees the way tsa does. if this was a private company, the entire leadership would have been removed, long ago. i thank the committee for the opportunity to appear before you and i thank the congresswoman for her support. i think until we fix these issues, that we will always fall
short in the ban of excellence. we are an agency in dire need of oversight and the american public deserves an agency focused on defeating the threat. employees in tsa, tso's in particular, they deserve leaders who value and treat them with respect. we can do better. mr. chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. i look forward to answering questions from you and other members of the committee. thank you. mr. chairman: we thank all three of the witnesses and we will turn to questions and i will begin the first round. all three of you are currently tsa employees, correct? all three of you have bravely come forward to talk about retaliation, about a toxic environment, about misconduct within the areas you have worked.
what concerns me is that some of it is historic, at least the first witness, the second witness, the third witness i heard say they believe it is still continuing. would you say that is the case? is it still going on? mr. rhoades: yes sir. mr. livingston: i would agree. mr. chairman: so that is very troubling. unfortunately, you have confirmed our worst suspicions. we have a bureaucracy in the tsa. we have had about 42 screeners. 52,000, and i know that they cooked the books and moved positions to other agencies. but there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 8000-10,000 personnel, i know that there are 4000 in the d.c. area, making over $100,000 a year on average.
so they are well paid. i read stories of what they did to you. since we have begun, we have had dozens of others, throughout tsa, telling us that they have experienced similar misconduct. i am a little concerned. mr. mica: again, you tell me that the people who are the most abusive are still there. is that right? mr. brainard: what i have observed in tsa, i think that the administrator has done his best to engage and to get his arm around the situation, but we have not resolved it. mr. mica: this comes from a high level, the retaliation has taken place.
i know that there have been memos and operational guidelines that have been revised, but folks are still in place. that has to be pretty demoralizing. mr. brainard: it is. they are still in place. i do not want to go into specific detail or mention names, because they are subject to due process. the reality is, even though they are with the agency, they are still in those positions today. so we continue to have that issue. mr. mica: what concerns me is, the ability to perform now is also hindered. neffinger is well intended, but some of the reports that leaked still in those positions today. of poor performance, you saw cooking of the books and wait times, is that correct? mr. rhoades: yes, sir.
mr. mica: that has been documented. the failures of performance and the wait times, and the retaliation for also, for the facts coming out. i don't want to say you revealed them, but those were the facts taking place and some of you are blamed for that? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. mica: all three. i am concerned about what is taking place. neffinger has tried to correct the situation. but tsa cannot recruit, it can't train, retain, or schedule, and it cannot manage the huge bureaucracy that has been created. that is part of the problem and it will not be corrected. and those people on the line pull me aside, they said, see those three guys doing nothing.
they are making over 100 grand and we are busting our tail trying to process these people and they are having a good time. they are having a good sitdown chat and enjoying themselves. part of the tsa gets to name thousands, standing around, but these guys are sitting around and earning huge salaries while others are doing their work. the meltdown that is already occurring, my colleagues, here are a few of the headlines. fort lauderdale, american airlines, 6800 people last month missed their flights. chicago, 1100 american airlines missed their flights. charlotte airport, three hours waiting on good friday. long lines cranking travelers. this one is denver, jfk, i mean -- we have not even gotten to
the summer when you have a heavier traffic. you all know what i am talking about. i think we're heading for a rough time this summer. mr. brainard: i absolutely believe that is the case. i think it is important to point out that we are talking about personnel issues and we are talking about senior executives and the people still here. it goes beyond that. a lot of things you are reading in the paper, the $1.5 million, the same decision-makers. when you talk about moving security resources out of the airport, same decision-makers. turning it back, putting us into quite a situation for summer, the same people who broke the agency are the same people who are essentially running it. and i will offer to you that in
the results coming out, there was an effort in tsa and of that effort, there were wonderful recommendations offered. i served as a senior advisor for a time of two months and the most important part of that survey, the most important part of the working group, was fixing security. and the second-most important part was fixing leadership. i do not think that message got back. mr. mica: did you want to say something? i will yield as much time to mr. cummings. mr. brainard: i can add a unique perspective. as a member of the senior leadership team, i sat in the office and at the table with other senior leaders as a deputy assistant and i can tell you that the administrator has brought a new perspective to the agency, he has hired a chief officer. he has the same people doing the same thing and dealing with the same problems. he has the right mindset and energy to change it, but he needs to put people in different positions. he will not get there with the
same team. he has energy and focus to do it, but he cannot do it with the same people. mr. mica: what you say is troubling. i will yield to mr. cummings. mr. cummings: gentlemen, i want to thank you for being here. these are serious allegations. and we definitely needed to have a thorough inquiry so we can hear all sides. i think you would agree. mr. brainard: yes, sir. mr. cummings: you testified that you were removed from your position and basically that you are demoted. mr. livingston: that is correct. two grades. mr. brainard: and you lost pay? mr. livingston: yes. mr. cummings: how much did you lose? mr. livingston: $10,000 a year and bonuses. mr. cummings: you said right at the end of your, so, you said that they did it right at the
end of your one year probation? mr. livingston: yes. mr. cummings: how close were you to the end of the time when they did this? mr. livingston: roughly 48 days. i had served for 17 months, because the secretary of homeland security had announced her retirement, they had frozen all those being certified, putting them into a new security at the time. i was in that position for a long time. both my agency, the bottom line was they removed me and investigated me and when i was clear, they did not reinstate me. they removed me because i had found my senior culpable for -- and i reported another one for sexual harassment, so after they removed me, i failed my probationary period.
and they could not reinstate me. mr. cummings: so, -- what do you think probationary period is for? mr. livingston: to evaluate performance. mr. cummings: as i understand, during that time you do not have certain rights, is that right? mr. livingston: that is correct. mr. cummings: like the ability to appeal? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: they basically demoted you, and they can demote as they want to and you do not have any adequate protection or due process during that time? mr. livingston: that is correct. mr. cummings: wow. you must have been upset. mr. livingston: considering i had gotten two medals and a great midterm, and another medal at the time, i was blindsided. mr. cummings: so you were asked if it would be easier for agencies to retaliate against employees, if probationary periods where extended beyond one year and you said, yes?
mr. livingston: i did. mr. cummings: you were asked also, given what happened to you, and you claim that tsa retaliated against you during your probationary period, would you support probationary periods that are longer than one year, and you said, quote, no? mr. livingston: in tsa, it has not worked. i have seen other agencies where it has. in my situation, i cannot see it working for two years. mr. cummings: there is a proposal that has been made with the committee. to extend the probationary period and to make it longer. that would mean that you could have been demoted, even if you worked there longer.
do you think that is a good idea? mr. livingston: that recommendation comes with other regulations that include a mentor and 60-90 day checkups. there is a process with that where you are informed as you go. i was blindsided. that recommendation would not allow that. mr. cummings: so maybe longer for whistleblowers like you, they would have fewer protections, and even longer times -- you would oppose it? mr. livingston: the whole point is to help the government, not the individual. if it was not balanced, it would not work. quality is the issue and tsa has not showed that quality. they have not acted in good faith. mr. cummings: so, do you agree with that? do you oppose having a longer probationary period, where whistleblowers like you would have protection?
mr. rhoades: i think the problem that is plaguing the agency is the fact that we have policies, but we do not follow them. we have leaders that abuse their power of authority. in general terms, if we had ethical leaders, we could make the probationary period 10 years, it would not matter. they would do the right thing. but as mr. livingston stated, with as much retaliation, as much as you need to be in an inner circle, i would not supported. mr. cummings: and then? mr. brainard: i do not care. as long as there is checks and balances. you have to have engaged leadership that will follow the performance of the individual. if the person is not performing,
you need to give them a plan to be successful. as long as there is a structured process in place and to make a determination if they will be a good fit, it does not matter how long it is. mr. cummings: so you have a situation where, you are saying no matter who is at the top, you have people who have been there, most people have been there for a while. mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: did he want to say something? mr. livingston: i was going to answer the question. mr. cummings: let me say something. no matter who you have at the time, you have folks underneath, many of them have been around for as long as tsa has been around, am i right? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: are these people easily identifiable?
is it easy to know who they are? mr. livingston: yes, sir. mr. cummings: and so they basically, so mr. neffinger can put out whatever mandates or rules, to correct it. correct the situation is, generally. unless you have these folks cooperating, it is still not going to be resolved? is that a fair statement? mr. livingston: my perspective is, they are going to wait him out to see if he will stick through and they are not giving him an honest shake. a career professional would support him no matter how long he would be there, a day or 10 years. he is not getting a fair, honest national shake. if i can say to that, when you're talking about the whole of tsa, 50,000 employees and you get to the leadership component, that is smaller. and you get to the crux of the problem, we are talking about a handful of people who manage to maintain power and have escaped responsibility. mr. brainard: some have departed with a golden parachute or a
private lucrative offer. we are talking about a handful of people. a number of people who understand what they do, a number of people on the front line who are outstanding. we are talking about a small number of people for whatever reason i cannot explain, who managed to hold onto power and they are the worst abusers in the agency and they are still there and nothing is being done about that. i do not know to what the current -- extent to the current demonstrators is able to do his job. mr. chaffetz: the gentleman from tennessee. mr. duncan. mr. duncan: i have an article that talks about the $336,000 that tsa paid for producing an app. it says, when an app is not much more than he read them number generator, it is hard to imagine how it could cost that much, but it is typical of government spending.
i understand from the staff that you once recommended an analysis that another employee refers -- refused to do and ended up spending $12 million on a project that should have cost $3 million. will you tell us about that. and any other examples of a huge waste that you have seen on your watch. mr. brainard: yes, sir. when i came on, we did a transformation. and in that, we had allocated $3.5 million to do this transformation. and because there is no alternative of analysis completed, it was not managed properly. there was a 60-90 day signature completed and it was not done properly. the wrong equipment was ordered, it did not work. we had to do it over and it cost three times the amount. even today, if you look at the board, there is about $500,000 worth of equipment in a box in
the office and there should be about 12 people working and there are only about five people working. it is a waste of money. it may not sound like a lot when you look at the big picture, it is wasting almost $9 million. that is a lot of money. and i think the taxpayers would be upset to know that t.s.a. wasted that money. mr. duncan: it may not sound like much for those in the federal government, but i can tell you that it sounds like a lot to the average person out there when you waste -- pay $12 million for something that should have cost $3 million.
do either of you, mr. rhoades, mr. brainard, have you seen examples of waste in your positions? mr. brainard: yes, sir. in minneapolis we built a regional headquarters for a regional director that had no intentions of coming to minneapolis. he stayed in michigan. and throughout that whole process as i worked with the office of real estate, i would identify why are we spending $300,000 on an office space that this regional director has no intention of coming to? mr. rhoades: we are in the process right now of minneapolis changing that, but we are going to spend more money to revamp that office for coordination center where we should have done that at the beginning. we identified that years ago. i identified that years ago, but what happens is when you make suggestions like that, they move around you or you get cut out of the meeting and you're not consulted anymore. so -- we have already spent $300,000 on this office space, and we are going to spend, i don't know, $150,000, potentially more, when we should have done that up front.
it's gross mismanagement. mr. duncan: the easiest thing in the world is to spend other people's money. mr. brainard? mr. brainard: i'd like to comment on the app you just mentioned. i have to tell you, that's one of the strongest indicators of the mentality we have. not only of the feeling they are bankrolled pretty much do whatever they want no matter how silly it seems. but when this story came out about the app, you find out it's no better than chance. i put together this ouija board. it has expedited screening on it. and standard screening here at the bottom which would have been just as effective as that app and would have cost a lot less. you could have the same type of outcome with a quarter, flipping a quarter. and -- mr. duncan: i understand there have been other software developers who for fun have created a similar app, almost no cost, and to pay $336,000 to i.b.m. was a total rip-off it seems to me. mr. brainard: i also do app
development as well. i can tell you that it does not take a lot of thought to do what they did. mr. duncan: dr. livingston. mr. livingston: i wanted to make a comment for the record. i pointed out that fraud, waste, and abuse and i was told to let it go. and i also made a point of saying that this was a lot of money and it was wasteful. and nobody took any action. mr. duncan: let me mention one other thing since my time is running out. mr. rhoades, i understand you think the wait times to -- at minneapolis airport have been falsified, is that correct? have you heard about that happening at other locations, too? mr. rhoades: i cannot comment specifically on the locations. i can comment on minneapolis. in 2013 we received what's
called a federal security director office of inspection. basically a health check. on page 18 of 40, which i provided to this committee, a supervisor at the checkpoint had identified that he or she, it doesn't give his or her gender, had expressed some frustrations that the wait times that they submit up for was being changed by management. i can tell you at the minneapolis-st. paul airport, the airport police has at times begun to tabulate wait times. think of that. we are expending police resources at our airports to check on t.s.a. reporting our wait times. and as recently as last month, the airport is investing in some sort of automated wait time calculations. that would indicate, sir, that they don't trust the numbers that we are reporting. mr. duncan: thank you very much. >> the gentlelady from new jersey, mrs. watson coleman, you are recognized. mrs. watson coleman: thank you very much. and thank you gentlemen for being here. i want to ask one question, i think it was you, mr. brainard, who said there were only a handful of really bad administrative level people.
a lot of others have left. you said there is only a handful. is that 10, 12, 5? mr. brainard: less than 20. i do not know the precise number. only the people i deal with in my world. i don't speak -- strictly as an operations. i don't speak for the office of law enforcement, global strategies, or human capital. there are some different divisions women the t.s.a. -- within t.s.a. i can only speak to what i know. operations has the largest piece of the pie. mrs. watson coleman: i'll pay better attention to your organizational chart because i'm confused where people are located. i will do that. dr. livingston, you wrote in a statement you submitted for the record today, and i quote, today t.s.a. lacks the senior leadership courage to make the necessary changes so that the agency can accomplish its mission. right? mr. livingston: i did. ms. coleman: now in your transcribed interview with committee staff you stated the following about the -- the following about administrative messenger, i give him all due credit for being probably one of the smartest people in d.h.s.
and he is the right guy to lead t.s.a., is that accurate? mr. livingston: yes. mrs. watson coleman: you also stated pete neffenger has stood up and said this is what we need to do but he is the only voice. why is admiral neffenger the right guy to lead t.s.a.? what has administrator neffenger said that needs to be done? mr. livingston: when i was the deputy administrator i sat next to him. i know him to be an intellectual, i know him to be a leader. when he was the vice admiral of the coast guard, he spoke truth to power. he speaks with authority. i think he's a man of integrity. what i don't think is he has the support and cast around him. if you think of it as a sports analogy, he can't play every
position on the field. i think he has good intentions for t.s.a. i think he needs the support and cast to help him. i think all of you have heard him here when he's testified. i think he speaks honestly. i think is he well intended. but what i think he needs is the people around him to buy into what he's doing. he has since hired a chief operating officer to come in and help him. that is one example of him trying to get things right. mrs. watson coleman: you also stated in your transcribed interview, again i quote, here's the thing, the work force is waiting out mr. neffenger because they think the elections are coming. having worked in state government at various levels, i know what it is for people to wait for leadership to come in and wait for leadership to come out and they say we were here when you got here, we'll be here when you leave. are you speaking of those individuals that have some kind of -- i'm going to use this as a generalized term, civil service protection that can't be moved that are representing the most difficult element to deal with
and work with? mr. livingston: ma'am, my intentions with that comment was to admit the middle management and the senior level leadership hasn't provided the necessary leadership to support the administrator to let it be known that they bought in that no matter how long he's there, whatever he has said, should be carried out. i don't think there's the necessary buy-in to carry out what he's advised and directed to be done. whether he's there a day or four years, once he decrees it, it should be carried out regardless of the time frame. that was my intent. ms. coleman: can you share some of the things you think need to be institutionalized under his leadership that would help this agency as it may transition ingenuity -- transition into new leadership? mr. livingston: i think he has come out specifically and when he has weekly meetings, he says he is interested in five things. how well we are doing with the pre-check, the acquisitions, he
wants to know what we are doing with the budget, how we are doing -- he is very clear where he is going. he is specific and i can provide you information very clearly. ms. coleman: i appreciate that. i yield back. >> mr. meadows? mr. meadows: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony here today, for your willingness on behalf of the american people to speak up. we know that it does not come without risk, and i for one am committed to making sure all of our federal employees are treated fairly and certainly when we see retaliation, it is troubling. dr. livingston, when i hear some of your testimony, i always watch the audience and i see people nodding their head yes or shaking their head that they can't believe these kind of things are happening.
let me just make sure that i'm clear. during your probationary period, were there areas that you were able to appeal to other -- like the special counsel, did you appeal some of the decisions or could you have appealed to those? mr. livingston: sir, the rule from o.p.m., they have the right to terminate you and there's no recourse. the problem is i was never told one time either written or verbal to adjust. what i do have is a record of 96 emails saying great job. what i do have is a mid term saying great job. there was no indication there was ever a problem. i was told on a monday, great job over the weekend working for the white house. i was told tuesday, you're being nominated for an award and i was told thursday, you're done. mr. meadows: so now you do have a claim currently with o.s.c., is that correct?
mr. livingston: yes, sir, i have a petition with o.s.c. mr. meadows: how about from an e.e.o. standpoint? mr. livingston: i have filed a lawsuit and an e.e.o. mr. meadows: you have those two appeals, i guess, sitting out there or at least request at this particular point. i just wanted to make sure that's clear, in addition to this probationary period you've actually filed in those two areas, is that correct? mr. livingston: it is the first time for me, sir, in 36 years that i have. mr. meadows: no. and that's fine. when injustice happens or that perceived injustice, certainly we want to make sure that that -- that you are given the right to appeal. so let me go further because part of this is a federal employee mismanagement issue, but the american taxpayers probably are not as in tuned to that as much as the safety and security of air travel.
is it your testimony, dr. livingston, that this mismanagement is affecting the safety and security of americans? mr. livingston: sir, it's my testimony today that we have nonintel professionals running your office of intelligence and analysis. mr. meadows: so nonintel running the office of intelligence. alright. mr. brainard, is it your testimony here today that the lack of sufficient management practices within t.s.a. is putting americans at risk? mr. brainard: mr. meadows, i would say that's the case. let me quantify that. when i talk about the lack of experience in positions, right now this summer we are going into what they call a very challenging season, and we are looking at situations in these airports where they have recently pulled out the management inclusion aspect of expedited screening. that is a very small part of that whole process and package
and because they have done that, we're going to have this problem. the problem alone with that is the fact that plan a was to put that in place, but nobody sat down and put a plan b in place if they had to pull any one or those options off the table. in this business, you need to understand continuity of operations, and it's very clear to me just on that alone, they didn't have a continuity of operation. that's detrimental to our security. additionally, when you are talking about security at the airport, you're talking about things like this app, this randomizer. there are stories out there week about a proposal that existed precurrent administrator about not screening passengers on flights out of airports. to me that speaks in and of itself the level -- mr. meadows: so your testimony is that correcting this situation is of the highest priority for the security of the american traveler, is that correct?
mr. brainard: absolutely. mr. meadows: so let me finish in the last few seconds. i was at dulles a few weeks back visiting with customs and border protection as we looked at the whole vetting of visa overstays and exit of the country. in there they indicated that t.s.a. doesn't check all the background areas of potential workers so they can be on a terrorist watch list, they could have other backgrounds and that we're not systematically checking all the backgrounds, resources that we have at our disposal, is that correct, dr. livingston? and i yield back to the chairman. mr. livingston: sir, let me research and get back. i am not exactly sure about that. i think but i don't want to mislead you, but i can find out. mr. mica: i thank the gentleman. i yield to ms. kelly. ms. kelly: thank you.
mr. rhoades, you told committee staff after march 1, 2015, no one has told you that they believe wait times are being falsified, is that correct, is that what you said to the committee staff? mr. rhoades: ma'am, i described to the committee staff march 1, 2015, i was aware of an incident in minneapolis where a manager was in our coordination center. he was counting the wait times of the people in the check pount -- point line and he was pulled away. he counted 18 minutes. a new manager came in and she counted somewhere around five but we reported 18. ms. kelly: so is that a yes? mr. rhoades: that's as best as i can tell is march 1, 2015. but as i stated earlier, ma'am,
when the airport police start having police officers count your wait time, it's an indication of trust and so i would maybe look at that as the measurement that when police organizations at airports are starting to count the wait times of your checkpoint security queue, something's wrong. ms. kelly: so you don't know? mr. rhoades: i don't have the information, ma'am. ms. kelly: the preliminary results conducted by the department of homeland security's inspector general leaked to the press. the inspector general made findings that according to the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson, and i quote, we're completely unsatisfactory. in response to the results, secretary johnson ordered t.s.a. to implement the 10-point plan. mr. brainard, are you aware of these findings? mr. brainard: i am, ma'am. ms. kelly: as part of the ongoing efforts to complete the 10-point plan and resolve security vulnerabilities,
administrator neffenger worked to address what he identified as a, quote, disproportionate focus on efficiency and speed in screening operations rather than security effectiveness. to that end, administrator neffenger testified before this committee that he has provided new training to, quote, every transportation security officer and supervisor to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the o.i.g. test. mr. brainard, has your staff received this training? mr. brainard: yes, ma'am. ms. kelly: you discussed the impact this training has had on the performance of the screener work force during your transcribed interview with the staff. you stated, while the management essentials training has obviously improved our situation in terms of how they conduct their jobs, the thoroughness, i mean, there have been improvements in terms of -- i think -- without seeing any test results, the detection capabilities, is that correct? mr. brainard: yes, ma'am. ms. kelly: administrator neffenger has refocused the screener work force with alarms
at checkpoints and he testified, quote, readjusting the measurements -- he's readjusting the measurement of success to focus on security rather than speed. when you spoke with committee staff, you were asked whether under administrator neffenger there had been, and i quote, new emphasis on resolving the alarm and you said, and i quote, absolutely, is that correct? mr. brainard: yes, ma'am. ms. kelly: what is the importance of resolving alarms at the checkpoint? mr. brainard: ma'am, making sure that our people are thorough, you know, the job that an officer does is certainly the most important job in t.s.a. and one of the hazards of that job is when you're constantly dealing with people all day and the routine is the same, it's very easy to get laxed in procedure. and so part of the training, and
i use the word culture and i really mean that, is to improve our culture, to make sure people understand the importance of resolving the alarm versus just clearing the passengers and letting them go. also, part of that was to explain limitations of equipment that we had. these are all things that came out of the tiger team effort. there's some great stuff that happened. certainly since mr. neffenger has been in, there's been a shift to security and trying to get the pendulum to go back to strike the balance. i will offer to you this, a lot of things that happened happened prior to this administration. those testing results, those aren't new. they may have been released but the previous administration knows what our performance was and they still implemented a number of different programs and processes which in my opinion did not help our security situation. i've talked with the committee staff members about some other security concerns which have happened. all those things took place when they knew, they knew what the testing results were. as a federal security director i see the testing results within my a.l.r. i see the results within the state of kansas. what i didn't see prior to that was everybody else's. but the leadership steam did. -- team did.
ms. kelly: what is the nature and impact of t.s.a. staffing shortages and the amount of time after you answer? mr. brainard: that's a very good question and i could sit here for the next 20 minutes and talk about it. i know they won't let me do that. so let me just say the most important aspect to this is. when we are not properly staffed it causes our people to be under a lot more stress. now, regardless of how much mr. neffenger or myself or supervisors preach the importance of resolving the alarm, it puts pressure on security officers. additionally, when you look at the media, you have airports screaming to go privatized. if it's one thing that puts pressure of a federal employee of 13 years is the threat of privatization. that's one thing that is absolutely at the forefront of their mind and you can't focus on the security mission when they're focused on their job security. i give mr. neffenger credit.
he is bearing the news to the public. you remember the day after thanksgiving, that's going to be every day this summer. and so it's important for us to make sure that we reassure our officers that regardless of the fact that somebody's going to have to wait a few extra minutes, we still have their back and we have an administrator who fully supports that and that is part of the culture he's established with t.s.a. that's a very difficult job. it's certainly not the most popular job, and we certainly appreciate it. mr. rhoades: mr. chairman, may i add one thing? mr. mica: yes. mr. rhoades: we keep talking about the failures at the checkpoint and candidly i think it's insulting to t.s.o.'s because the leaders are what put the t.s.o.'s in that environment and so, yes, they got a difficult mission. yes, we need to resource them. but let's not forget the fact that the people who brought us to the dance of those the failures of the detection rate are still in leadership positions. and what training did they get? so, again, we're deflecting the
problem on the t.s.o.'s, but we're not really talking about all the people in leadership positions who brought them to the dance. mr. mica: i now yield to mr. walberg. mr. walberg: mr. livingston, we've been talking about failure at all levels, training, morale, etc., and the consistent terrible rankings that d.h.s. has. what do you think it's going to take to instill a meaningful change in employee morale? mr. livingston: accountable leadership that gets results that's consistent and that is honest because right now there's no trust. mr. walberg: accountable leadership, go back to that. what does that mean? mr. livingston: well, right now the value on conformity and silence is greater than integrity and innovation. if we don't have an agile agency that's more focused on the threat and making security the priority, you're not going to get an agency that's going to be agile. and right now the agency is supposed to be working on the threat. and right now we're more worried about conformity and silence.
i tell you if you don't build trt with the work force you're never going to make the morale better. mr. walberg: so the results that we're talking about today are not a surprise to you? mr. livingston: not in the least bit, sir. mr. walberg: mr. brainard, we've heard of senior positions being filled with unqualified staff, untrained staff, specifically individuals with little or no management or security experience. can you share your experience in this regard, specifically whether you know of any efforts on the agency to address this issue? mr. brainard: well, let me give you another example, and there are several. in 2013 an active shooter opened
fire at the los angeles airport, killed one of our officers, wounded two, wounded a total of seven people. in response to that some of our senior leaders, these folks who have a questionable background and certainly lack the security experience necessary, all got together and decided to standardize a checkpoint panic alarm system and the purpose of the alarm was to press it if there is an imminent threat. so our people could have protection at the quickest opportunity. so of the 450 airports where they installed those, some 710-plus checkpoints, they installed those alarms. that is great. that's a good security move. they are all covert security alarms. they have an auto dial that calls the police department. if you have a law enforcement standing there. and a come towards the
checkpoint chasing people with a machete, if that officer wouldn't have been there, several people would have been hurt or killed there. how can you install 700 alarms and forget to put an audible alarm? we installed the audible alarm in our hub in wichita. we put out the specs nationwide. that in and of itself, when you're talking about the changes they put into these airports, i mean, the rationale behind some of this stuff make makes no -- absolutely makes no sense from a security standpoint. the motto is from the previous administration, there's never been a risk i wasn't willing to accept. it's like dealing with a financial investor. you give a financial investor $100,000 of your money and he or she will do things with it they would never do with their own, that's one example of the logic that goes in and the thought process that goes in. one of my counterparts took a survey over a period of five months with calls that we have with t.s.a. leadership prior to mr. neffenger's arrival and over a five-month period there were
147 topics discussed. not one of them was security related. they may have talked about playbook or they may have talked about some security aspect but it is always the metric driving it. it was a running joke. this is the priority of that leadership. mr. walberg: let me jump to another point here. can you walk us through the process that t.s.a. engages when they are evaluating a potential new hire? mr. brainard: at which level, sir? mr. walberg: new hire at management level specifically, what's the process t.s.a. walks through? mr. brainard: well, it varies, sir. you have with officers, there is an online assessment. as a federal security director, i don't get a lot of insight into that. at the administrative level, posting it on u.s.a. jobs and the executive resource council at t.s.a. headquarters. the administrator is involved in that decision. it varies with different components. mr. walberg: ok.
mr. rhoades, complaints to leadership at t.s.a. going unacknowledged, ignored, etc., have you ever heard justification for these complaints not being accepted or reviewed? mr. rhoades: no, sir, there's no logical explanation for that. mr. walberg: what explanations have been given? mr. rhoades: precisely, none. no contacts, no email. no, you are not -- nuts. hey, that's a good idea, nothing. mr. walberg: so it just happens and allowed to answer? mr. rhoades: i can't answer that. the only thing i can answer, sir, i have not been contacted. that's all i can answer. mr. walberg: thank you. i yield back. mr. mica: the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch. mr. lynch: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for your helping the committee with this work today. in my previous life i was a union steward and a union
president and then later on a labor lawyer practicing labor law on behalf of unions. i'm just curious, when i was a steward on the work side, when i had employees that were being treated unfairly, i would take it on myself. that was my job. i would deal with management and make sure people were being treated fairly. that way my workers weren't continually banging heads with management, it was me and, you know, i enjoyed that work but a lot of people don't. would it be helpful at all in your workplace if you had somebody like that that you could go to? i know that there is a signatory representative in the workplace, but you do not have, you don't have -- you don't have full bargaining rights and all the rights that the other federal employees have so you don't have those. would that be helpful? mr. rhoades: sir, i'd like to answer that. i'd like to first answering by -- answer this by saying my a.f.g. from minnesota is in attendance in support of this testimony. mr. lynch: great. mr. rhoades: i think the fact that she's supporting me talking about mismanagement in my agency is a powerful signal hopefully to my agency. i'll start off by saying this. my a.f.g. in minneapolis, the management wanted to fire this person because he made a mistake.
and when i looked at the table of penalties, it was excessive. so what i did is what's called the designated grievance official is i reversed it, i eliminated it. we had a great conversation in my office and i owned the decision. and like i said, as long as you have ethical leaders willing to do the right thing and not be coerced from the top it could work. but it requires ethical leadership, sir. mr. lynch: no, i understand it. mr. rhoades: totally off topic, i grew up in massachusetts. mr. lynch: we'd know how you would vote anyway so we do it on your behalf. mr. rhoades: yes, sir. mr. lynch: i don't want to spend a lot of time on that. what do you think? >> the most important thing if you don't make
the two match, tsa is never going to get better. it is getting lost in translation. happy to hear about mr. neff injured. he's a frequent flyer here. trying to put some of the changes we need. -- checkpointsut are very important. if you googled checkpoint bombings or checkpoint attacks, you look at what happened in brussels. you look at what happened at the airport check point, the rail checkpoint. suicide bombers detonating both. look at paris outside the stadium. though suicide bombers hit up a checkpoint. we have to have a whole
different strategy about how we handle that area that has been the focal point of all these attacks. i'm not calling out my tsa screeners. i go to those classified briefings. ace bandages on their knives and guns struck to their legs -- guns strapped to their legs. these are major airports in our country. thenot looking to place blame on any particular aspect of this, but that is unacceptable. he has said he is going to go back and redesign this whole thing. criticize when we have a 90% failure rate.
that is going to have to change. i think some of that is related to the fact, the way we treat folks areees, these doing incredibly important work. people yell about detecting our borders. we have to make sure those employees have the protection and the rights to be able to do their job. this is what i want to ask you about. my concern is whether or not those passengers are screened efficiently. the airline priority is moving people through that checkpoint. that is why you have these people being timed. we all travel regularly.
we want our screeners to do a dam good job. so the priority has to be safety and security. it can't be this airline needs to move product. what is the priority that is prevailing today in our nation's speak for >> i don't the agency but i can't tell you that we are not going to compromise security. compromisegoing to our position to expedite passengers through at the extent of our mission. keep pushing a better process.
we are going to get better at this. there is a day that doesn't go by and tsa where this isn't a priority. discussion.topic of i don't want you to think it is not a priority. he needs the right team to do it. operation i a field can tell you there is a stereotype with the airlines that no but he cares about customer service and throughput. there are a number of airlines to partner with tsa successfully each day. said -- the issue is we are the only entity that deals with three constants. departures, arrivals, connections. they have a right to be upset about that and we have to find a solution.
teamrevious leadership oversaw tsa and put in a plan a without a plan b. that is reflective upon that leadership. i don't think there is a day that mr. neff finger doesn't come in to but that is where we are at where we had. we did not have a plan b when we put in plan a. mr. lynch: mr. chairman, i want to thank you for your indulgence. mr. mica: let me turn to mr. palmer. mr. palmer: thank you mr. chairman, mr. rhoades, i believe you used to work alongside former acting head ken casprisin at minneapolis-st. paul. he's stated before that thousands of airport workers who are only subject to random checks are the single greatest threat to aviation security.
now, t.s.a. employees are regularly rooted out from being caught rummaging through baggage or for inappropriate behavior which is obviously good we're catching them. but my concern is by these reports there are only three u.s. airports that currently require employee security checks -- atlanta, miami, orlando, and in atlanta they had a major gun running operation busted in 2014. additionally, we had reports there are some 73 employees at about 40 airports who potentially have terrorist ties. at some point, is the t.s.a. causing more insecurity than it solves? i mean, frankly, as a very frequent traveler, it gives me concern that screening process may identify potential terrorists, yet they continue to work there. mr. rhoades: so, let me try to
answer that question, sir. i believe if the t.s.a. was mandated to screen every employee at airports, it, candidly, would require much more resources. i am unqualified to professionally comment on how much of those resources it would require but what i can say is that the minneapolis-st. paul airport, there are i believe over 10,000 people that work at that airport. now obviously some of them come during various times of the day in various shifts, and certainly the insider threat has received a new focus based upon world events. but i will say, we are resourced in f.t.e. based upon our mission. our baggage and passenger screening. again, i'm unqualified to comment whether we should also receive resources in that. but i can say that's not our specific focus. mr. palmer: let me put it this way. we are talking about just basic screening, right? mr. rhoades: yes, sir. mr. palmer: every staff worker goes through screening to get
into an office here. in terms of being able to do their job, if you know you have to go through a screening process, you show up early. is that unreasonable? mr. rhoades: no, that's not unreasonable, sir. i think what our administrator has done, rightfully so, is reducing some of those access points at those airports. if you are aware of what's called sida badges, and various access points, those are available to some employees. however, again, i don't have any data to suggest or talk intelligently with respect to how many access points. i can say at minneapolis, the number of access points have been reduced and we continue to reduce them. mr. palmer: well, just think about it for a moment. if we know the t.s.a. thinks there's 73 potential people -- employees with terrorist ties, there could be potentially others and we are not screening them. it doesn't give you a high comfort level. mr. rhoades: i don't disagree with you, sir.
mr. palmer: mr. brainard, i'd like to follow up on mr. duncan's questions regarding wasteful spending in which you all described expenditures such as $330,000 spent on an absentee regional director in minneapolis-st. paul. a $12 million project that was over budget three times its original amount. and i could almost ask for a hearing just on project overruns. $336,000 on an app that you, mr. brainard, described as being as effective as a ouija board. and i'm sure the more we continue to hear from other employees at different airports we're going to continue to hear similar stories to that effect. you might be aware that last april, the t.s.a. aviation security advisory committee released a report concluding they could not afford full employee screening and that it would not reduce the risk of overall public safety, despite numerous reports from inside the
t.s.a. speaking out to warn of insider threats. when you look at this other spending -- mr. brainard: thank you for the question, sir. when it comes to spending, another example to give you where they could have put the money toward making something like that happen, when they did the directed reassignments, i went from iowa to maine. i had received near perfect evaluation. there was no vacancy in maine. the federal security director in maine received a perfect evaluation. he was being sent to wisconsin. between the two of us, you are talking in excess of a quarter of a million dollars just for move that was earmarked. one in jacksonville got sent to iowa. i was there, there was no vacancy. all these federal security directors were performing in excessive standards. no federal security director had more experience. the maine operation, which is a wonderful operation, was smaller and less complex than
what i had. the one in wisconsin to arkansas, the one in north carolina to los angeles, his spouse from los angeles to washington. the f.s.d. in west virginia to san diego. there was no reason for these moves. i don't know what the price tag is on all those moves. but we could have certainly used that funding more appropriately. mr. palmer: well, and that just brings me back to the point i was trying to make with mr. rhoades, that you're spending all this money and we know that not every t.s.a. employee is up to standard. i mean, potentially 73 may have terrorist ties. but we're spending all this money and we're not investing in the security apparatus that we need to make sure, absolutely positively certain, that we have the very best people on the job and that we're protecting our airports. dr. -- i saw you shaking your head, dr. livingston. i presume you may have a comment. mr. livingston: sir, full disclosure. just like my partner here, we're from the same area as well. i'm from -- mr. palmer: well, i'm from
hackleburg, alabama, and i live in hoover. and by the way, today is the five-year anniversary of the tornados that went through alabama with such devastating impact. mr. mica: i thank the gentleman. did you want to finish your response, mr. livingston? mr. livingston: to answer your question, sir, there needs to be greater oversight. i was part of the office that identified that original 73. we didn't have access to the list. i was actually part of the team that decided we needed to notify nctc that we needed to generate a letter back to them to say we didn't have access to that database. and i was part of the secure flight team to say we needed to do a better job screening. so, there is an opportunity to do screening and there is a better opportunity for t.s.a. do better monetary discipline. i identified the $10 million excess spent on a watch floor. yes, sir, there is a need to be
more prudent with taxpayers money. anytime you see an example of waste, fraud, and abuse, we need to do better. mr. palmer: i thank the chair and i yield back. mr. mica: i thank the gentleman. the gentleman from missouri, mr. clay. mr. clay: thank you, mr. chair. mr. livingston, t.s.a. cut its screening staff over the past couple of years, anticipating that its precheck program would help speed up the overall process, but not enough passengers have enrolled. news reports have indicated that morale inside the t.s.a. is extremely low, which is likely a factor contributing to staffing shortages affecting t.s.a. security. reports indicated travelers are arriving at security checkpoints where not available queues are available for general screening, and i can attest to that going through st. louis' airport. i'm part of the precheck
program, but it's more often than not, it's closed. and i'm told by officers that they don't have enough people to staff it. is there a long-term strategy to fix the morale issue and the employment issue? i noticed -- go ahead. mr. livingston: yes, congressman, there is a plan. we are putting 200 extra t.s.o.'s through the academy each week. both my counterparts here can talk about the screening process, but i can tell you from a precheck standpoint i know we're putting more advertising out to get more people enrolled. we're dutiful to get more people into the program. we're trying to show them the advantages of that. precheck is a high priority to the agency, sir, and we're trying to get more people into that. once we do that, the more people that are in precheck, we think we could sustain that much
better. i'd let my counterparts -- mr. clay: no, here's the point. the excuse i get at st. louis airport is, we don't have enough officers to staff it. so, you know, is that just something they're telling me? mr. livingston: sir, there is a staffing issue. i know the administrator has talked to o.m.b. about staffing issues. i know there is a long-term strategy to address that issue. it's a resource issue of both money and people. turning the switch is going to take some time but he's addressed that. i think he has a short and a mid and a long-term plan. he's working with senior staff to do that. and i think both these gentlemen who are working in the airport can tell you what they're doing daily. mr. clay: some have suggested shifting officers from t.s.a.'s controversial behavioral detection program to regular screeners. so, let me go on. mr. rhoades, i have a question for you.
mr. rhoades: yes, sir. mr. clay: kind of concerned about this article i'm reading about a mohamed farah from minneapolis. are you familiar with him? mr. rhoades: i am. mr. clay: and he's part of a iman and part of an influential somalian group. he said there is an ongoing pattern of racial profiling and harassment by t.s.a. agents at the twin cities airport. he said recently, he was asked by an agent who says, quote, "hey, were you going to make a run for it if i hadn't given your ticket back?" and the only response he's gotten from t.s.a. and the congressman from that area, mr. ellison, is that they take these complaints seriously. well, i think it's a little bit more than that.
he's also been given a t.s.a. control number from the agency's redress program and he said it doesn't help, either. so what can we do for mr. farah that would change the conditions that he experiences every time he goes through your airport? mr. rhoades: thank you for that question, sir. you may not realize, but there is a "new york times" article that was published this morning about profiling. you may know that in my opening statement, i was asked to profile somali imans and community members visiting me in my office. those are facts. it is contained in my written mid year evaluation that i provided to this committee. so mohammed is a director of ka joog. i was not there at the
checkpoint so i can't intelligently speak to what was said. what i can say is whether your you're black, white, male, female, somali, christian, jew, hindu, we should treat you the same. and it doesn't matter if you're flying on whatever airlines, you should be treated with respect. again, i'm not either taking mohammed's position or refuting his position, insomuch as i'd like to say when we get to know people of the somali community, they're hard working. they want to be american citizens. my mother was an immigrant. my mother was a japanese national, became a u.s. citizen, and took her oath of citizenship in boston, massachusetts. mr. clay: well, how are you going to change his experience? when he encounters your agents, your officers?
mr. rhoades: the best way i can answer that, sir, is with any investigation or inquiry, you got to get the facts. i have met him many times. we can have a passenger support specialist, have someone assigned to him in the future when he flies out to make sure things like that don't happen. and we are happy to do that. mr. clay: have you disciplined the officers that he encountered? mr. rhoades: i don't have the names to those officers, candidly, sir. mr. clay: your camera footage can identify them. you have identified these officers. mr. rhoades: again, i don't have those facts. what i am suggesting is in my own experience with respect to the t.s.a., they've been less than forthcoming in addressing my complaints. so, i would say that my complaints mirror his.
mr.clay: this is totally unacceptable. >> sir, has somebody from t.s.a. gotten back with these questions? mr. clay: i'm realizing this guy is being mistreated here. mr. livingston: would you like somebody from t.s.a. -- mr. clay: yes, i certainly would. mr. livingston: i would get back to you with somebody from t.s.a. mr. clay: sorry. mr. mica: no problem. hopefully the gentleman will get a response. let me question the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter, now. mr. carter: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for being here. we appreciate your presence here today. i want to start with you, mr. brainard, if that's ok? as i understand it, at one point you were assigned in iowa, is that correct, in the midwest? mr. brainard: yes, sir. mr. carter: and while you were there in iowa, you received the highest performance rating that you could possibly receive while you were working there and i also believe you received a federal security director of the year award? mr. brainard: yes, sir. i received the federal director of the year award. it is one of the two top awards
you can receive in our agency and a number of other types of awards from local stakeholders, partners, fusion centers. mr. carter: right, ok. well, then as i understand it, they tried to reassign you to maine? mr. brainard: yes, sir. mr. carter: they tried to reassign you to maine. mr. brainard: they did reassign me to maine. mr. carter: after you received all these accolades and awards? mr. brainard: yes, sir. mr. carter: do you believe that was their way of trying to get rid of you, to reassign your position? mr. brainard: well, i can't speak to their motives. it would be unfair for me to speak to their motives. i speak to facts. mr. carter: was it a bigger airport? were you needed there? mr. brainard: no, smaller airport, less complex. fewer employees. mr. carter: why would an agency take one of their best employees -- obviously they wouldn't have given you these awards if they didn't think you were doing a good job and put you at a small airport where your skills and abilities would not be as useful.
mr. brainard: according to them, the reason for the reassignment, my skill set was needed for that particular operation. unfortunately, there was another federal security director who had been a high performer. that's the reason they provided. each of the federal security directors who happened to be the longest serving directors in t.s.a., there was a caveat. there were three federal security directors i was aware of they did not move, but they had to sign an agreement to stay at their duty station one year and then they would retire and they forfeited their right to take any type of litigation against the agency. so, three people were provided an exemption with the caveot they had to retire. july -- i think this is worth mentioning. there was a vera announcement which reminded everybody putting pressure on people to retire is a prohibited practice. mr. carter: ok, let me ask you -- and you did relocate to maine? mr. brainard: yes, sir. mr. carter: when you relocated to maine was that a financial hardship?
mr. brainard: oh, yes. mr. carter: i can assume it was. was there a vacancy near where you were before or -- mr. brainard: no. there was no vacancy. there was in maine, a sitting federal security director. there was no vacancy. and if there had been a vacancy, there were certainly other people there at the operation qualified to fill these positions. it's important to note when you're moving this particular skill set around the country, we have some 750 assistant federal security directors and deputy federal security directors, and the men and women that fill those positions, most of them are more than qualified to fill those positions. mr. carter: let me ask you, how much would it cost t.s.a. to relocate you to portland, maine? mr. brainard: they earmarked in excess of $100,000. mr. carter: i have $113,000. does this happen elsewhere, mr. rhoades? mr. rhoades: sir, it happens everywhere.
as you may read in my written testimony, i'd like to call the example of mark haut. this was a gentleman that was moved from charlotte to los angeles. when he moved from virginia over to charlotte, the agents paid paid him $197,000 for one move. during that time, two of his sisters and brothers died. his wife, after he got a directed reassignment to los angeles, was given a directed reassignment in los angeles back to washington, d.c., on the opposite end of the united states. that's the punitive nature of directed reassignments and high costs. mr. carter: let me make sure i'm understanding this, now. this is taxpayers' money that we're paying this? mr. rhoades: yes, sir. mr. carter: so, we could potentially talking about millions of dollars in taxpayers' money -- mr. brainard: you are talking about millions of dollars. mr. carter: and not only that, but it also causes the employee financial hardship?
mr. brainard: i'll offer you this. when i moved to iowa, my counterpart in jacksonville couldn't come. he was off on medical. so you know what they did? they t.d.y.'d an assistant federal security director in iowa, put that person in a hotel for nine months. nine months. they put her in that hotel for nine months, and they didn't fill that position until january of 2015. mr. rhoades: sir, ed goodwin from florida, he was given a directed reassignment. he was supposed to replace jay brainerd in des moines and he had -- his parents were 89 and i believe 95 years old. one of them had alzheimer's. his daughter was a high school senior in her last year of high school and he was underwater in his mortgage, and they gave him a directed reassignment. you know what he did? he quit, he resigned. and that's what he -- and "the new york times" wrote about him as well. that's what our agency does to people they want to run out.
mr. carter: ok. we've got a number of moving parts here. you know, we got the -- what i consider to be wasting taxpayers' money and i'm very concerned about. we've got another concern about whether this is intentional and a way to get rid of employees or to discipline employees. mr. chairman, i just have to tell, i'm pretty disgusted right now and i'm looking forward to have another hearing. from what i understand we are going to be doing that. and certainly we want to get to the bottom of this. mr. chairman, i'll yield back. thank, y'all, again for being here. mr. mica: i thank the gentleman. i'll recognize the delegate from the district, ms. norton. ms. norton: thank you, mr. chairman. could i just say to all three of you that we very much appreciate your service and appreciate your courage in coming forward. i chair the equal employment opportunity commission. i'm very interested in this kind of alleged retaliation.
the -- it's interesting that when congress passed title 7 itself it passed retaliation provision in the statute. it's very, very important and, of course, if there isn't any sense that one cannot be punished for coming forward, it is very, very heavy presumption against coming forward. so i was interested to hear about -- it was not -- i don't remember, even though i had to essentially reform the entire agency, creating new parts of the agency, bringing together people. i don't remember anything called directed reassignments. in my view, i can think of no more powerful instrument in the
hands of an agency. you testified, i think it was you, mr. rhoades, somebody just quit. mr. rhoades: yes. ms. norton: if that was the intention, it certainly worked. mr. livingston, let me just start with you because you reported that you indeed did suffer discrimination at t.s.a., is that right? mr. livingston: yes, ma'am. ms. norton: and what was the basis for the discrimination? mr. livingston: it started with the disability harassment and then it was based on my veteran status. they were making fun of me with my service-connected disability. then it started at e.e.o., i found against the senior s.c.s. for preselection. then it started with the sexual harassment. another s.c.s. asked me to lie and i refused. then there was another case where i reported serious
security violations and it started that same official is the one that testified against me in my e.r.c., or my probationary period. ms. norton: it seems like one thing leads to another. mr. livingston: if you tell the truth in t.s.a., you will be targeted. i call it the lord of the flies. you either attack or be attacked. mr. rhoades: ma'am, if i may. ms. norton: yes. mr. rhoades: i was accused of going native. ms. norton: going what? mr. rhoades: going native. ms. norton: explain that, sir. mr. rhoades: ma'am, it's a slang term where i was visiting mosques in my official role working with the somali community where jeh johnson, my secretary, tells me he wants to conduct community outreach and my supervisors accused me of going native. i take that to mean i'm somehow converting to islam. i'm acting as a native. it's a disgusting, bigoted term,
and when i think of that within the context of my written mid year evaluation that tells me to profile somali people, i'm disgusted by it. going native? i'm truly disgusted by it. ms. norton: now, this committee has -- the house unanimously passed a bill called the federal employee anti-discrimination act to help hold managers accountable. you know, the kinds of retaliation that would happen below your level, perhaps is apparently better taken care of. i was an original co-sponsor. it looks like most of the committee was. this is -- this bill, by the way, is pending in the senate. it hasn't passed the senate yet.
but it would require the agencies to keep track of every single complaint. somehow, for the string of issues, mr. livingston, for example, you indicated there would have to be a tracking of the complaint through inception and resolution. do you think this would help bring some additional level, mr. livingston -- any of the three of you -- i'll start with you, mr. livingston, through the process? mr. livingston: yes, ma'am. i think anytime there's checks and balances and you track that i think that's a good thing. ms. norton: see if something funny is going on here. with the string of -- you see the string of -- mr. livingston: yes, ma'am. i think t.s.a. has a management protocol problem. i think if you can track and show the process -- and i know
that the committee has looked at it for years, i think if you can show that, because all these leaders are not bad. some are very good. exceptional. i can name several. but all it takes is somebody to circumvent that process, and now you've ruined the good work of many. but if you track that and you quantify it and you can show the progress of the well-intended, i think everybody benefits. if you have toxic, cancerous leaders that are injected in this process, it undoes all the good work that the well-intended leaders do. and that's why mr. neffenger needs a team around him that can do that. in this process you're talking about, this tracking, this mechanism, the numbers in the data doesn't lie and it's forever. once you put it into the record and once you track it, it's consistent over time, and that's what we need is consistent, persistent, quality leadership because factual data will make us better.
ms. norton: mr. livingston, they gave me something of what you said to staff indicating that these nondisclosure agreements stand in the way. i notice -- and of course, i'd like to know whether you think our bill that says that you can't restrict the employee from disclosing waste, fraud, or abuse to congress, special council or the inspector general, whether that reaches far enough? mr. livingston: i think we overuse the nondisclosure agreements in my agency. i think every legal case we have ends in one, and i think that's an abuse of the power we have. i did write a statement to that. i will look for it very quickly and read it to you. every case from a misconduct or e.e.o. case ends into an n.d.a.
it hides the potential to make us better, at worst it shows our problems. at the least it shows a cover-up. every case can't be an n.d.a. we should have public disclosure. we should show the public what we're doing it and if we're hiding it, we're hiding something. mr. mica: i thank the gentleman. we'll recognize the gentleman from south carolina, mr. mulvaney. mr. mulvaney: i thank the chairman and i wish that mr. lynch had stuck around for a few minutes because he said something i thought mr. brainard handled it very well. i'll go back just for the record and i think mr. lynch mentioned at the end the airlines were just interested in moving product, moving people through, and i think mr. brainard, you handled that extraordinarily well. that's unfair. i know some folks who work there and their families fly, their friends fly and they care just as much about safety as we do. it's probably just as inaccurate to say the airlines only care about moving product as it would be to say all you care about is safety. that you don't care about the folks who have to stand in line and how long they do.
in fact, i look forward to a my guess is they are probably tied. i want to talk about the way the employees are treated. i just have to ask, and i don't normally ask this question is , anybody familiar with the circumstances at charleston, south carolina about kimberly barnett? does that name ring a bell for anybody? just an example of something we talked about here today. she complained about her supervisor falsifying records in her area. her area dealt with the k-9 use of the dog. she went to the o.s.c. which is where she was supposed to go and made the complaint in june of 2014, and by november of 2014 she was fired. , she was fired over a completely different allegation regarding using inappropriate language when her car got struck by a bus. so i wanted to mention her because this is -- it's more , than just you, gentlemen. we have heard your stories. but i think everybody from every one of our districts could bring some of these stories in. but let's talk about how to fix it and if it can be fixed. mr. livingston, you hit the nail
on the head. which is your exact language was , accountable leadership, which i agree with. can you name to me a federal agency that has that? mr. livingston: i used to work at the nuclear regulatory commission, and i thought they had great leadership. i worked at the department of the navy and they had it. mr. mulvaney: maybe it's a function what we do in this committee, but since we've see the bad stuff all the time, we can tell you again and again, we can bring you examples of leadership breaking down, leadership not being accountable, of folks not being able to fire people. we can do -- you could have a hearing here every single day how poorly the v.a. is run for the very same reasons. you mentioned one of the challenges that the agency faces is personnel. i think you said it was staffing and that it was money. i feel it's incumbent upon me you haven't cut your budgets. -- upon me that we haven't cut your budgets. your budgets have been fairly flat the last couple years.
when you tell me every day this summer will be the day like thanksgiving is, why is that? it can't just be money. in fact, it can't be money because we really haven't , changed the money that much. both of you gentlemen, answer that. mr. livingston: we are in a perpetual human resource model whether where we're always recruiting and losing people. we don't have a model where we recruit and maintain and if you don't sustain top quality people , then you're not going to get the best work force. if we're always recruiting because we're always losing, , we are not going to get the best people. if you don't take care of the people that you hire, they're not going to stay. if you don't care of the people that you hire and get them into a career development leadership program, and if you don't take your best people and groom them for bigger, better positions, if you don't send them to the top level schools, and if you don't invest in them, if you don't make people feel important and if you don't make people care about them, they're not going to say no matter where they are. rep. mulvaney: i tend to agree with that, in fact i agree with that wholeheartedly. anybody here who's ever had to
hire or fire people public or private probably agrees with that statement. is livingston: it leadership. if people take up all the -- rep. mulvaney: it brings me to my real question, why are we doing this? you described some of the same frustration we had with so many bureaucracies. the stories you told about whistleblowers getting fired about not being able to deal lperforming employees, we hear that every day of every agency we bring in. my question is, why are we doing this? why wouldn't it be letter to let private services do serve this function? you defend the agency as to why the federal government is to be doing this? if you were contractors, because we have had contractors come in here before, and there was always a threat hanging over
them, we can fire them. we don't renew contract. we don't have that with tsa. i ask you to defend the voter of motives, why are we doing this as a federal motive as opposed to letting the private sector serve this? dr. livingston: i think one of the essential things the government is protecting people. , andw up as an army ranger arranger lives and breathes. the leader is responsible for his or her unit. he or she is responsible for anything that unit does or fails to do, and when they are failures, there must be consequences to those failures. we don't have consequences in tsa. if this was 11 in the military, higher people in the chain of command -- rep. mulvaney: if they came back , we would fire them and replace with someone else. mr. rhoades: yes.
i am suggesting if we were private, title v, stay under access, in my view, is irrelevant. the most essential ingredient in a private company is, and i worked for kraft food, it is leadership. it is intangible, but that is why we are always here, failures in leadership, accountability, failures and performance. there is nothing done. that is why we are here. rep. mulvaney: i will cut you off because i am over time, but that frustration is embodied and experience in this committee every single day. thank you, mr. chairman. rep. mica: i thank the gentleman. mr. crossman, you are recognized. >> i will start with mr. livingston. on the sheet they call you dr. livingstone. examples of anf old investigation to remove anyone from an agency, any
specific examples? mr. livingston: i know the investigation used against miami was an instrument to forward a complaint. those are two examples. rep. grothman: and how would you get yourself in trouble that they go after you? mr. livingston: anytime you go against the grain or report misconduct or say on paper, if you go against the favored misconductyou report , if you report sexual harassment, if you report security violations. if you do anything against the talk to your or anything -- the against the go grain, you identify yourself as a nonplayer. if you don't shut up, you don't move up. rep. grothman: for the mentality is not to do the best job they can, at what tsh should be doing. it is respect to the people at
the top. mr. livingston: yes, and i come from the dod background of every day is a learning opportunity. we always do an exercise, we learned from that mistake. if you don't say something, you are considered a weak leader. and if at tsa you say something, you are considered an outsider. sexualreported harassment at another tsa, they said, if she filed the complaint, it is her word against ours. i said, i will not lie. they said, we will not work with you, and if you will be on the boy scout, you will be on the blank list. i was stunned another tsa would ask me to lie. and if i didn't, i was an outcast. rep. grothman: you reported it. mr. livingston: yes. rep. grothman: ok, mr. brainerd and mr. rhoades, good when if
you give a background on how integrity tests are conducted at the airport? tsa thatis testing at went into gear after media stories on ipads were taking place. we have a section known as internal affairs that will come out and run tests on cards, dvd, money, cologne, things like that. the testing items that come out, they conduct the integrity tests . they will come through with these items and the federal security director will get a call. we will be notified of the outcome. generally speaking, they say we zme through with x, y, items, can you recover them? i can give you an example. one of the items they are notorious for planting in an pens.t are they will throw pens on the floor, and people turn it --
they get up and turn it in. they will fly back investigators and literally interrogate them and push for a resignation proposed removal for a pen. i know this because they have done in my airport. i know this because we have joked about the fact that is the test mayessful time -- have. one tsa through in the garbage because he did not put intrinsic value on the pen. is a $200 pen. i happen to be one of the worst offenders of digging up pens you are using. -- people are using. and the people in the field to the highest standard, headquarters is the lowest standard, we have people picking up pens. they are sending out criminal investigators for noncriminal matters. it is commonplace for them to threaten people with a criminal prosecution.
they will take a noncriminal case to a local prosecutor as tsa fairness act saying they are spending time on criminal investigations so they can check the box. they hold the field to a much different standard of accountability. they are doing people for pens while you have people at headquarters abusing their staff members. rep. grothman: so just kind of for kicks, they put a stupid tactic can on the ground, and if somebody -- cvslivingston: i can go to and get something that looks just like it, and i cannot tell the difference between that and the anti-dollar 10. i have never seen a passenger go in.turn a pen i'm sure he must've happened, but if that is not the most ridiculous use of taxpayers' money, i don't know what is. rep. grothman: when they do these tests, they target individual employees or airports? mr. brainard: i have nothing any
indication the tests are conducted for any particular reason. rep. grothman: just a general waste of time. mr. brainard: it is essential, but one of the things, and i know you know this, the people that hate to see fast in the workplace more than the american people are our employees. we don't like him any more than the public does. rep. grothman: thank you for the extra time. me. mica: all right, let yield to mr. cummings, and then mrs. norton. >> i will have to go to another meeting, but i want to thank you all for being here. very veryrovided some significant testimony. as i said earlier, we need to see the entire picture. a certainly cannot have situation where whistleblowers
,ven worry about retaliation let alone be the victims of it. i think you will get that concern from both sides of the aisle. and want to thank you all, we have got to find a way to cut out that layer you are talking about, those people who think, want to think things that go on in the way they have been going on and the way have been going on is not helping. it takes away from the morale of the agency, and it takes away from its effectiveness and efficiency. this whole idea, i know mrs. norton will refer to this, this whole idea of people being sent from one part of the country to another, and if that is about retaliation, let me tell you
something. to me, that is criminal. because families are so important, and the individual who those families have to go ll, your wife is on one end, the husband on the other. anyway, i would yield to mrs. norton. rep. mica: thank you. rep. norton: i wanted to make sure i understand the differences between a legitimate use of the tools for management and its abuse, and i would ask you before about the directed reassignments. i see how it opens himself for abuse, and is interesting. it looks like internally, the agency has begun to take action because it became apparently so open. and such a problem than the agency.
i want to ask particularly about the record of your assignments. they have a legitimate tool. i want to know if it has been used, because we see this tool all across the government, and this is the capacity of the the employee to move every four years. we see that, the state department, we see that in the services of the united states, i am sure i see it because i see very often a different person from the national parks service, but i know that a former -- i think it is a former -- administrator was suspended of initiative,duty would be moved every four years. why would he do that? carrawaypeaking of mr.
, the acting administrator for about a minute in between transitions. thecarraway not only saw detrimental effect on the workforce, he had also been subjected to it himself. he has worked that while -- mile. in --r. deafened her came affirms toame in, he hold what mr. carraway had done. i am not sure if they tried to mr. carraway put a freeze on it, because sometimes things go on. you don't find about it until the bell has been broke, but mr. carraway didn't freeze that process. when you look at the information, it is crystal clear. it is blatant, it is obvious. rep. norton: there was a problem. i indicated with tsa, it is not unusual having this tour of
duty. i. brainard: last year, when hired him as a federal security director after 9/11, i did not sign a liability agreement. rep. norton: fidelity agreement? mr. brainard: fidelity agreement. the tsa, law enforcement, they sign this fidelity agreement. if you want to be a candidate, you sign the mobility agreement. there is no tour of duty on that. they established mobility with the federal security directors and started moving them around. they didn't have a business reason for doing it, regardless of what was put in their. we were certainly able to articulate that. rhodes? on: mr. mr. rhoades: mr. carraway talked about the initiative in october 2014. i received my duty back then. rep. norton: it is the same
thing order mr. rhoades: what is important for the committee to understand --that in february by nine, supervisor, il right heard every word he said. rhoades should not have gotten that redirected assignment. it goes back to the point i want to reinforce. we can have all of the policies we want written down, but if we are going to ignore them or work around them or lie about them, then is ineffective. rep. norton: so you can call it a tour of duty reassignment, you can call it a directed reassignment. but my friends and colleagues on the other side have the same view about the minimal projections, even at your level, that civil servants have. i do note that, and i am so
pleased to be passed a bill ourselves, we are just waiting for the senate. he didn't take a bill to do something about this. 24 of thist on march year, the president, administrator, a detailed explanation of why this employee must be reassigned involuntarily versus any other options, any other options seems to me important for this employee. and for the new position. does that help this situation? this is a question of using policy in such a way that you can push an agenda that is unhealthy for the organization. youe are questions might might did you redirected assignment. you have hired the wrong person, someone that is abusive.
you may not be able to terminate someone, they have not reached that level, but you are prepared to have an options meeting and say we need to talk about the road ahead, and you being at this location is not going to work. there are circumstances to do a directed reassignment, and there is legitimacy to that. this goes back to, do you have a policy in place that governs this, and if there is, our people manipulating it? three say it because of under witnesses being here, when they were talking about accountability, and he said to take action and let them file a lawsuit, i have 300 attorneys and i will sign them up forever in court, that is the mentality. they feel they are bankrolled by the government to make these decisions. they don't care if you are filing with the eeo. it is difficult to get them to accept complaints. there needs to be legitimacy, and that is what these moves are
after. >> in my case, when they ended my probationary, the argument was made, no proof, no complaint. ,ep. norton: i certainly hope mr. chairman, i appreciate your indulgence, because as i said, our committee moves unanimously on this very at the new ounces -- on this. veryuances are interesting. hold people accountable, put it in reading of why employees must be reassigned. i like the part, instead of uprooting you, let's see that options. there may be no option. let's say, mr. brainard, you seem to understand there are ,ome reasons for these policies and what we are here discussing and not the reasons that are used across the government, but tsaabuse of the policy in
in particular, and i thank you for your testimony. rep. mica: i think the gentlelady. i want to conclude, and i think all the members for their participation, particularly grateful for you all coming forward. as i said earlier, i think you have confirmed some of the worst decisions. what we have heard what was going on, and it takes brave people to come forward, especially from an agency that is renowned for retaliation, has grown renowned for gagging its employees and those who step forward, and have reported some paying someems are pretty high penalties. it is abusive to you, it is abusive to the system. i was one of the people who after 9/11 way back
as the chair of aviation's subcommittee. the president wanted it on his desk by thanksgiving, and we did that. we tried to structure something that would replace what we have. there should be a federal responsibility, and all of you agreed to that. we changed from having the airlines in the private sector, there were not federal guidelines in place, and they failed to put them in place. though i think that is important. i never said do away with it. i said, change the role. the most shocking testimony or thing i have heard today was i thought the abuse and what they have done to you all has been uncalled for, horrible. but my view was that mr. living analysisked about the capability. that really scares me.
the most important responsibility of that agency is to connect the dots, the intel and analysis is all that is going to save us. in my opinion. i will probably, i am going to ask the administrator to take action to revamp activity. that is the most important government responsibility, the intelligence gathering, the information, all of the stuff we need to keep people are doing damage to us, and when you come and justified to me and you are familiar with it -- testified to me, and you are familiar with it, that is one of our weak spots, that is absolutely scary. to help with this system together, i have tried to help tsa when they failed. we did everything from washington, that was a disaster. we have tried, we have tried to localize some of the hiring and
other activities. the problem is, it is so big, they can't think out-of-the-box, and you have people who you identified today in control. you can have the administrator, but you have other people in control who are revengeful, who have taken actions that are just unacceptable. i can see replacing, if there is a vacancy and you have to move somebody to feel that vacancy, or we have to secure the itortant fsd position, so be , and if there is compensation needed to move that person. but what you described is this abusive authority today, and then, the cost. $197,000 on one of them, just unbelievable. so the intel others may. i will be writing messenger, he
is coming in. we have got to get that piece of the puzzle there. i don't care who you put there, private screeners, public screeners, whoever it is. things will get through, ok? the system is human beings. but when you fail, if we spend some of that money in looking at people who pose a risk, whether they are -- even screening people who are working behind the thing. we had a hearing on that. there are hundreds of people, they don't have a passport number, they don't have social , notity numbers for folks all tsa folks, but even with tsa , they haven't screened some of those people. miami and orlando, and there is one more airport where they are screening the workers, that is a waste of money. that is not the way you do it. they check them, and they can go through, as you know.
once they are into the secure area, they have cameras, they have knives, they have all kinds of things that are not allowed, and they have chemicals and anything else, but access to the aircraft, which they could do a lot of damage to. we waste money congressionally, we could impose a some of that where it could be better spent. would you agree with that? >> yes, sir. >> absolutely. rep. mica: let me say one more thing, and i am glad that union folks came. i am a republican. when i wrote the bill, i was certain tsa had the ability had the -- to begun to it union. i don't think anyone should be forced to join a union. that we put that in the provision, the five private screening under federal screening provisions we set up.
san francisco was private, has been union in the beginning long before you got the rest of the crowd. it is not a question of union representation, and i don't think people should fear public versus private, even the tsa folks. i know some of them fear that, but it does involve some competition. i heard you all speak to that, and mr. richard is not here, but again, we need to project that. we accepted that title five, people can get fired because that is the way we set it up. it sounds like some of the wrong people are getting removed, and the money is going to the wrong folks. in the private screening, they have increased compensations for the tso to retain better people and be more flexible in .cheduling and things like that that is one of the reasons i favored that model under federal
supervision. what you described today is very serious. i cited a whole history of what delays, but for you to come here. des,have said, mr. rhoa mr. livingstone, mr. brainard, there is no plan b, and we expect a meltdown this summer. is that correct? mr. rhoades: if i can say something, federal security director's are working with theirs staff, working with the airlines, we have faced challenges standing up as one of the founders of the agency. find anfident we can workable solutions as long as we are keeping partnerships with the stakeholders. rep. mica: you a lot of good workers out there who should be rewarded. they have rewarding and retaining the good tso workers, get rid of some of the
bureaucrats at the top who are causing most of the problems. over the years, they have felt threatened by me, because i keep saying, we have this huge bureaucracy, many of them a few miles from here. and they, they are very .omineering over the democracy anyone that gets in their way -- i have dealt with them in privatizing my airports. i have always left that option open with my local airports, dollar. request top and then they came down, and he had never been so intimidated. threatened. it took two years to get consideration of the often out, and then i had to change the law to where they must accept the application rather than when we set it up, it was left
permissive with the language shell. that is the reason we got into that situation. then it took two years more while they thwarted congress as tent -- congress' attempt. again, 450 airports, we need different models. alaska is different from wyoming , jfk, etc., and the flexibility to do that, with the right .alance of private operation i would never take the federal government out. and again, a lot of junior members, nobody understands the significance of what you confirm today on this intel and analysis. that is the only thing i think that will save us. i don't have a different opinion. >> i want to go on the record saying why you don't have intel leadership, you do have top
intel professionals working in that office. the advanced analytic fun to i brought in is still very good, and mr. messenger will tell you he has gotten great support. with the right intel leadership, you can function even better. rep. mica: i have put resources and it has not worked out very well. and again, the other thing is you have these lines that extend out from the airports. we saw what happened in brussels . it was an attack on the american airlines and the passengers. their intent was to kill as many as they can. we decided the attack in los angeles, they are looking for the easiest attack. tsa provides a layer of protection, once they get past that, and then we have the secure cockpit doors, air marshals, we have pilots who are
armed. the biggest thing we have, and they always come to the rescue since that our of 9/11, when the passengers on flight 93 found out what was going on, the passengers will beat the living hell out of anyone that poses a true risk. and they have saved the day, and also the airline staff. i have to give them credit. hey had been there too. again, my concerns with the huge bureaucracy, we had bureaucrats in charge. their vengeful way of controlling the agency, which it should not be. i'm glad to you the confidence everyone has in messenger. i am not happy to hear there is no plan b. that is essential, and we have got to make certain -- i mean, we cast a lot of responsibility for the fsd to make the network,
and they are going to catch holy heck when those lines continue to back up. but common sense, the pre-check, advancing that, i have got to national -- i will not say it has improved. there were more people in pre-check than the other lines, and nobody moves them through to accommodate people. i saw the dogs the other day, and they are using dogs with people in line to get into tsa. -- we need to move a few dogs to the front doorway like the israelis do. they are checking people as they, in before they can get -- as they, in, before they can get to the lines. just common sense that i hope you all can take back. i know you tried to make positive suggestions, and then,
and also, i don't think any of you did it to be mean or buteful to anybody above, you have those best interests of the public and those who work for us. so, not as many questions as comments. very helpful hearing. we will have the administrator in in a couple of weeks here. any last remarks, mr. brainard? mr. brainard: this committee has certain level of influence. when talk about the workforce and the wonderful people that come to work every day, if i could just oppose it like this, imagine if every year you had to run for reelection. rep. mica: i do it every two. my contract expires every 24 months. mr. brainard: with our people, it is every year. i would hope they are looking forward, one of the things we find certainly do is
another option. people get incredibly stressed out every year. they do a very stressful job as it is. what you don't hear about in the media is a lot of success stories that do happen every day , the amount of dangerous items preventing from getting on aircraft. and i know that people in some cases could find other opportunities. we are grateful to have the wonderful team that we do. if we could take that stress off the workforce, i would appreciate that. rep. mica: it starts from up here. you all, the fsd, work in certain constraints from what comes from, flows downhill, as mr. livingston -- mr. livingston: we brought up some very serious issues, somewhere new, some were the october 2009. if we can agree some of these need to be addressed now by the administrator, this is the prime
opportunity to advance the operational success of tsa. none of the things said today here or personal -- rep. mica: no, you are speaking in the betterment of tsa. mr. livingston: the last two points, sir, if we could take a look at how the erc, or the executive resource council, appoints these at tsa, that might be a way for you to exert your most control over tsa, because that is where the pay, the assignment, the selection, reassignment, that is the nucleus for everything. and i'm just not sure that is a effective in the best interest, because i have heard you speak several times, both here and on the committee. , and severalator things you said over and over, i had not seen the actual actions.
rep. mica: you can't imagine my frustration. mr. livingston: yes, sir. rep. mica: they have ignored me, try to do everything they can to -- mr. livingston: i think if you exerted control. rep. mica: some kind of bipartisan support, i have never, since we created tsa, see anyone come forth. most people have been afraid to come forth. they put bags over their heads. we have done that in the past with some witnesses come in and testify. but you all are very brave, you stood up to it, and i think you would do it again because you are trying not to be mean towards anyone or vindictive towards anyone, but to that are rhe operations -- but to bette the operations that you see. mr. rhoades: i want to thank you for speaking before the committee. i have committed issues along
with resolutions of the reflective thought, and i am very humbled to be asked here. i appreciate the opportunity to be heard. if there is one thing i wish the committee would have oversight on is the directive reassignments policy. it is absolutely horrible. this is not personal, it is professional to me as a party suggestion. i would do an audit of all of the tsa programs, awards, hiring, external to tsa, because he cannot fix a problem unless you diagnose it correctly. the tsa has a history and certainly demonstrated that the responsiveness at times have not been there, however embarrassing it is. in order for austin get help here, we have to -- for us to get help here, we have to diagnose the problem. rep. mica: i want to thank you all for stepping forward, and this can be a constructive
hearing, and hopefully constructive task forward that you all have helped lay. there being no further business before the committee, this meeting is adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: the presidential race moves forward with the indiana primary tomorrow. subtle trump is in the state in south bend for a campaign rally. that will be live at 7:00 on c-span 2. and we cover an event with texas senator ted cruz in indianapolis at about 7:30 p.m. eastern. at the table is the chair of the american conservative union, matt schlapp.
let's start off with a recent washington post headline. it said that gop elites are resigned to donald trump as the nominee. are you resigned as donald trump is the nominee? guest: i think donald trump is most likely going to be the nominee. and i think it is a reflection of what has happened in the democratic votes all over the country. and i think that sends a clear message to this town. and if you look at the nationwide polls this week on the democratic side between bernie sanders and hillary clinton, he is right there, nearly tied between those two. so i think there is a definite message that is being sent across the country. host: do you think the never trump movement is finished? is over for now? matt yes, i think it was the : problem. trump wasn't the problem. it was such a reaction, a push
back to what the voters, republican voters were saying , across the country. it basically said, we don't care if you keep giving donald trump these wins state after state after state. we are going to block it and that is not what my party should before. host: ted cruz and john kasich are in the race and they have delegates committed to them in the process. do you expect a fight in cleveland at the convention? matt i encourage applicants like : ted cruz and john kasich and carly fiorina, the prospective running mate of ted cruz, they ought to get in there and fight until the end. and we ought to have this fight go on all the way to cleveland. but eventually we have to unite and get behind our nominees. i that is going to happen soon. if trump is elected the nominee. but we will see what is happening in in indiana and california at the last few states that are left. host: you are the chair of the american conservative union. let me ask you this question. is donald trump conservative?
matt i think he is running : mostly as a conservative. his message is a reaction to president barack obama. i have talked to him about this. he has been a political person who has in here and they are and a bit of everywhere over the years. he has been a sometime republican. but his response to obama is basically very strong conservative themes. you know he is not an orthodox , conservative like ted cruz. but he is somebody who is definitely leading with conservative issues. and i think that is the big question mark for the big republican party. the big question for the republican party and the larger conservative movement is, though will he be reliable on all of the issues that they care about? which is why this primary process and all of the questions members of the media ask, that is why it is so important. because once you elect a president, it is done. host let me invite the callers : to phone in for questions with
the chairman of the american conservative union, his name is matt schlapp. the numbers are on the screen. democrats, (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independent, (202) 748-8002. you can also post a question at twitter. twitter.s our we will talk for a couple more minutes. then we will start taking your calls. you were at the correspondents ' dinner last night. matt schlapp: are you saying that because i look tired? [laughter] host: what was that like for you? matt schlapp: i hadn't attended in a while because we have little kids but i thought it was great. i actually thought the president was funny. he also like he didn't want this to be his last one. and it's fun to see famous people jumping into politics politics, all the
actors and actresses and other luminaries who were there. everybody had a good chuckle at the expense of everybody involved in politics. host: we just spent 45 minutes asking viewers if this thing was too chummy of a fest. with celebrities and politicians and business officials -- these are the people they cover. what is your take? matt schlapp: it is a little chummy. as a conservative, when i go to a dinner like this i think it is , interesting to hear members of the media. when they are on display at a dinner like last night and they have a chance to poke fun at themselves, what they mostly do is poke fun at people like me. and when the president has a chance to make fun of himself, he mostly made fun of people like donald trump and ted cruz. so actually, i think the white house correspondents' dinner, the tone is much like what you see in committee papers. host: lots more politics and discussion with the head of the american conservative union. james is calling on the
democratic line from seattle. good early morning to you, james. caller: good morning. yes, thank you. ronald reagan, during his presidency, the deficit moved from $790 billion to over $3 trillion under reagan. during reagan interest rates , were extremely high. reagan did not drop the interest rates until 1986, and that is where the revenue came from. he granted amnesty to over 5 million illegals. reagan provided welcomes for every third world country overseas from afghanistan to chile. reagan sold iran missile systems. reagan also undermined president carter when he was in office. this is the president you all hold up as your stalwart. the only thing that you say is that reagan did, he was the
white house, the shining house on a hill. but reagan destroyed this country. he started a campaign in philadelphia, mississippi, where the bill of rights workers were hurting. donald trump is doing the same thing that ronald reagan is doing. he is trying to get elected with white people. he did everything to black people. he called us welfare queens and talked about us and everything. the same thing that barry goldwater and them did. host: let's hear from our guest. matt schlapp: james, you successfully brought up two of andheroes, ronald reagan barry goldwater. i would say that ronald reagan did a couple of basic things. he restored the spirit of the country which was lacking under president carter. it is almost like america had lost the sense of economy. confidence. of
ronald reagan brought that back. he was able to get the economy humming and getting it rolling again. create jobs and the economy. one of the things that we see is people bring up the deficit with ronald reagan a lot, which he grew viewed as a great bipartisan failure but he did greatly increase revenues into the federal government. not that conservatives love the idea, but revenues came into the government because the economy started to grow because he cut taxes. let's refer that he was dealing with a democratic house. so these were bipartisan accomplishments that tax cuts went through. of course, i think the most important thing is he played an instrumental role in destroying the soviet union. a lot of other people did that too, but it was based on policies that were not going to endure anyway, but he gave
them a shshove into the ash heap of history. so ronald reagan did some very basic, fundamental, wonderful, historic things for the country and yes, i hold him up. there is a term called the reagan democrat. a lot of democrats hold reagan of as a hero as well. he was a great president. host: back to donald trump, what do you make of his tone on the campaign trail? matt schlapp: well, it is hard. i have been on the campaigns for presidents. i worked for george w. bush and you are brought up in campaigns and politics to talk a certain way. to address controversial things in a very kind of calm manner. and take the heat out of it. especially when you are a republican, you are taught to do that on every campaign. and donald trump took the rulebook and tossed it aside, and he brings more heat to an already controversial topic. there is something about that that is refreshing to a lot of americans, and there is something to other americans that is very disconcerting.
and so his candidacy inspires a lot of opinions, as you know. as your show knows. it is very different from the tone that ronald reagan took when he ran for the presidency three times and ran for a successful governor of california. it is something we haven't seen. we haven't seen somebody take this kind of approach and be so successful, but it is a little bit of a function of the times. it is a function of how we watch tv with these reality tv shows. likeke the unscripted, we the spontaneous, and sometimes we like the absurd. he is exploiting it for good purpose in politics. host: from fayetteville, north carolina. schpendent caller for matt lapp. good morning. caller: good morning to you both. i am watching the whole scenario play out here.
we have had eight years. [indiscernible] the government has unfairly dealt with these students in the congress. beenery turn, there has criticisms, all kinds of false statements. mr. trump has set himself up as someone who is divisive . the one thing i want to say is this, what ever we do as human beings in anger, we will regret it in tears. the america first party is nothing that is representative of america. to try and resurrect old racism and hatred is only pouring poison in the well bringing , about diseases. we will hope and pray that the
have gotten beyond the 21st century, but yet the old ghost that haunts america is alive and well, and donald trump is representing this in a most poisonous divisive way. schlapp. t matt schlapp: i almost thought you were talking about donald rumsfeld for a second there. i think that it is fair to criticize donald trump. he doesn't always strike the kind of tone i would like to see him strike. that being said, america first, this concept, it has a historical understanding that people talk about, but what is so terrible of the concept that, when it comes to our economy, when it comes to our foreign policy, we take our country's interests into account first? now you can use the lingo and , the jargon of what people
think these themes mean, but i think this is a basic concept. they feel like we have lost. that is bipartisan criticism. that is not just criticism of president obama, it is also george w. bush. we are all over the globe. we are paying for an aggressive push back around the globe. and we're paying for that with our silver, and we are paying for that with the lives of our sons and daughters. i think it is very fair for the american people to ask the question very aggressively about whether what we're doing being in the interest of the country. our sons and daughters shouldn't be serving anything other than the interests of our country. who would ever put somebody in harm's way without it being in america's interest? and the second thing, is america doing the right thing? is there moral purpose in that foreign policy? when it comes to the economy, it is similar. people have seen the global
the ups they have seen and the downs and i think we , have to be sober and honest with the american people to say that there are great downsides to the american economy. host: we should point out the guest was assistant director to george w. bush. and now maverick asks you this question. -- republican change needs party needs a change. who do you think is responsible for the lack of change? matt schlapp: ok, so the republican party is definitely sending a message of change. maverick has got that completely right. who is responsible for the fact that we need to have change? the first person is that barack obama has been an incredibly successful liberal president with very radical policies. and so the first reaction that is happening within our party, because president obama has gone
it alone, and he is mostly decided to avoid dealing with congress, was of his successes are with completely democratic votes or his president told penn 350 powers -- presidential pen through executive powers. we have to stop these policies that are not bipartisan policies. these are liberal policies as they don't take into effect the american voter which has large republican majorities to the house and the senate. the second thing that republicans are upset that is a republican majority in the senate and a republican majority in the house, and they don't feel these majorities have done enough to push back against president obama. i think it is unfair that these leaders have been put in a position where you have a president who is going around them aggressively. but by the same token, the people across this country who
elected these majorities want them to take the extra step and stop these policies. and that is what the politics of america are so chaotic. host: a democrat on the line. from miami, florida. you are on the phone with matt schlapp. he is the chair of the american union. caller: i have a question. i'm not really sure about what true conservative principles are. in florida, the governor is a republican and the legislature is totally controlled by republicans. and for instance, their philosophy was not to expand medicaid. just to give you an example, there was a young woman, 32 years old, had three children. she worked three jobs, clean houses, babysat, and sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door. she didn't qualify for medicaid which she would have the government of florida the , republican guy expanded
, medicaid. to sell vacuum cleaners, and she dropped dead because she didn't have the money for prescriptions. can you explain to me why that is in the best interests of america? why that is consistent with all of the things you have said foreign policy should be in compliance with? why is that in the best interest of america for people like that to die because they can't get a prescription? guest: i worked for president bush, and one of his bipartisan agreements was the idea that prescription drugs should be part of the health care system , especially for people who are having trouble paying all of their bills. that being said, obamacare has been a disaster. because obamacare in the end is , it does not enhance what is great about the american system. is great about the american health care system is that we have the top quality
around the globe. as a matter of fact people come , to america to get health care because we are the best in the world. callerhost: but he said that won didn't have the pills she needed. matt schlapp: we did pass a prescription drug plan that do cover a lot of people. i think what this call was more about was this, still, there are people today under obama who don't have health care. don't have the health care they need. and really what obamacare is about is health care insurance. and i guess my perspective is this. after eight years of this president, his signature achievement obamacare, look at the fact that this woman described before dropped the dead after obamacare is the law of the land. poverty rates in all of the statistics you see on poverty and how people are hurting across the country, they are all up. they are up substantially. after seven years of obama policies. and so, you have to ask
yourself, obama is a liberal oldident, and i am 48 years , he has had almost a decade to run the table on these policies and yet you hear from callers as , democrats around the country about how things have gotten worse. and i think that is something i can agree with them on. i think the obamacare solution was the wrong solution. and i think the obama solution or the obama policy on the economy has been the wrong type s of solutions. i think more americans are hurting today that before he got into office. caller: we will hear about -- host: we will hear on donald trump talking about hillary clinton. theld trump: she has woman's card. she has nothing else going. if hillary clinton were a man, i don't think you would get 5% of the vote. the only thing she's got going is the women's card, and the beautiful thing is women don't , like her.
host: the so-called woman's card, is that a smart strategy? matt schlapp: once again, what i -- would i have given him that advice? no. if you are a man running for office, the lesson you try to do is attack the woman for talking about the fact that she is a woman. but once again, he throws away the playbook and he is hitting hillary clinton's strength. the american people are proud of the fact that we elected the first african-american president , and i think the american people want to elect the first woman president. and most politicians that back away from this historical precedent could be set. but instead, he goes right into her strength and takes it on and makes people for the sake, why are we giving this woman the nomination if you are a democrat? bernie sanders is the one that we love, but she is the one who will get the nomination.
i think if donald trump gets the nomination, i would not have advised him to do that but we will see if it is successful. announcer: c-span's washington journal, live every day with policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, martha executive director for the national center for transgender equality on the reaction of the transgender community to the north carolina bathroom law. possible on tuesday republican indiana primary and how the cruz, kasich alliance is playing out. watch washington journal beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on monday morning. join the discussion. >> here on c-span, newsmakers is next with congressman role grij alva of arizona. t